Moonrise Between Iceberg Pillar by Michael Winsor

Michael Winsor is a professional photographer from the small outport community of Pools Island, Newfoundland. Through his passion in landscape photography, Michael has built a reputation in producing stunning low light landscape images.  With his love of exploring the natural world, he is known as a leader in fine art landscape images of Newfoundland & Labrador.

 GOT IT! Excitement was an understatement to finally get the shot that was in my mind for a long time.  For anyone that follows my work, you know I have a fascination with the moon.  Its just something about it that is so awe-inspiring.

I did a lot of research online and driving along the coast to try and find an iceberg that was on the east coastline. Previous evening attempts did not work out because it was before sunset and the sky was too bright.

 The haze or fog on the horizon was also a factor. However, on this clear night it was dark enough to capture the moon rising out of the Atlantic ocean.

When shooting a moving object in low light there are a lot of challenges that you have to overcome.  Of course a tripod is required, especially with a 600mm lens.  Shooting a moving iceberg at night adds more technical difficulty because you need to have a fast shutter speed in order to have a sharp image.  The only way to do this is to open your aperture and increase the ISO.


 However, increasing ISO creates noise in the image, so you have to trade off noise for sharpness in the image. Fortunately, some of the image noise can be fixed in post processing.

So, as the story goes…  I arrived at the location early enough to locate where the moon was supposed to rise with my trusty phone app.  After waiting for a while with anticipation I took a shot just to see if the moon was in view and there was this glimmer of light on the horizon right between the two pillars of the iceberg.

  So, with a couple of fist pumps and then dancing a jig, I had to calm down and focus on the technical aspects in order to get the shots I was looking for.

For anyone shooting the moon you can attest to the fact that once the moon hits the horizon it moves really quick. Here is a shot when the moon is just starting to rise between the iceberg pillars.  This was a great time for a sharper image because it was still a little light.

 The moon was rising up and to the right very quickly so I had to keep picking up my gear and running to the left in order to get the moon in the middle of the two pillars of the iceberg.  Here is a shot just before having to move again.

With the blood pumping, trying to catch my breath from running and adrenaline, I got a shot of the football.  Not really, it is still the moon but when the moon is rising up from the horizon it looks more like a football than a circular full moon.

 After moving again, I am in the middle and trying to get the shot but now it is getting darker very quickly and it is causing issues.  I had two options, shoot with fast shutter speed and the image will be dark or longer shutter speed and the iceberg/moon will be blurry.  I kept shooting with the fast shutter and hoped I can pull out the detail in post-processing.

Now it is getting really dark and harder to capture a sharp image of two moving objects, even with the ISO cranked up.  Here is a picture of a more circular moon behind one of the ice pillars.

 At this point, it was too dark to take a shot of the berg with the moon.  Therefore, it was time to capture more fine art work with a longer exposure.  I noticed the moonlight on the water so I moved to the left again to center the moon over the iceberg.  As you can see it was a sight to behold.

Once the moon went behind the clouds the back lighting from the moon on the iceberg did not disappoint.  It was truly a magnificent sight. Here is an image when the moon started to come out of the clouds.  Again, the glow on the horizon was just stunning.

It was a beautiful night indeed and I was so humbled to witness such a beautiful scene.  The  stars or moon had to line up on that night.  It was a blessing to find a two pillar iceberg on the east coast, clear skies, no fog, dark enough to capture the moon on the horizon and enough area move in order to maintain the desired composition.  
I hope these images move you in some way for a few moments as it did for myself watching it that night.  Newfoundland has some of the most raw beauty that anyone can ask for, you just have to go out and explore.  
(Click on photo for larger image slide show.)

Thanks and if you have any questions or comments you can reach me at or